Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

So I was looking into what I could make for hubby that he’d reallyl enjoy.  I’m trying this “housewife” thing, and it’s more difficult than I knew.  I always thought that I’d be able to have a hot dinner on the table if only I had more time.  But that was before I knew that Netflix has Veronica Mars seasons 2 & 3 on Instant View.  Here’s what I came up with for tonight: Pulled Chicken Sandwiches.  Because (if you’re new to reading this, you’ll soon find out) I have chicken.  I do not have pork.  I made these sandwich rolls recently too, and I’m hoping that I get extra dinner points to overcome the fact that I have no laundry points for this week.

Soft Yogurt Sandwich Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup water, warm (100-110F)
  • 1 cup yogurt (nonfat/lowfat is fine; I used Greek-style)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Preparation:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour, the active dry yeast, the honey and the warm water. Stir well and let sit for 10 minutes, until slightly foamy.
  2. Stir in yogurt, vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of the remaining flour. Gradually stir in more flour until you have a soft dough that sticks together pulls away from the sides of the bowl (This can all be done in a stand mixer with the dough-hook attached, as well).
  3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding additional flour if necessary to prevent sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, or about 5 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Turn risen dough out of bowl and onto a lightly floured surface. Gently deflate, pressing into a rectangle. Divide dough into 10 even pieces with a board scraper or a pizza cutter. Shape each piece into a round roll. To do this, take all the corners of one of the squarish pieces you just cut and pull them together, pinching them to create a seal. This will pull the rest of the dough “tight” across the top of your roll, giving you a smooth top. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. Once all rolls have been formed, press down firmly on each one to flatten. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 25 minutes.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, until rolls are deep golden on the top and the bottom.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.
  9. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 10 rolls.

Pulled Turkey Barbecue Seibels

Gourmet  | July 1997

Ingredients:

  • 2 large onions
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Tabasco plus additional to taste
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • a 4 1/2- to 5-pound turkey breast, skin discarded
  • Accompaniment: soft sandwich rolls, toasted lightly if desired
Preparation:
  1. Finely chop onions and mince garlic.
  2. In a 6-quart heavy saucepan combine onions, garlic, vinegar, butter, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons Tabasco, salt, and pepper and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Add turkey breast, cavity side down, and cook at a bare simmer, covered, 2 1/2 hours. Transfer breast to a cutting board, reserving sauce, and cool until it can be handled. Shred turkey meat, discarding bones, and stir meat into reserved sauce. Simmer barbecue, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 hours more and season with salt, pepper, and additional Tabasco.
  3. Serve barbecue on rolls.
  4. If using boneless, skinless breasts, SUBSTITUTIONS: replace half the vinegar with chicken broth, double the butter, and add 1/4 cup brown sugar. But with the skin and bone, it’s much, much better.

The Verdict:

The sandwich rolls are lovely.  Trav said that he liked the pulled chicken.  It was a little vinegar-y for me, but that might be mostly because of how I forgot to check on it a couple of times, and then the sauce was all cooked to goo and I used vinegar and ketchup and chicken stock (but a lot of vinegar) to create more liquid.  He said that he likes a vinegar-y barbecue, so maybe that’s what he liked about it.  Anyway, it’s worth keeping in the recipe file.

Gorgonzola, Fava Bean, and Purple Potato Canapes

Here’s my inspiration (from epicurious.com), as well as my personal editing (I’m taking out these parts of the published recipe, and adding in these parts), based on what I actually have on hand:

Gorgonzola, Fava Bean, and Purple Potato Canapes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup shelled fresh fava beans* or lima beans (about 3/4 pound in pods)
  • 10 small purple potatoes or small red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter; about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 6 ounces Gorgonzola blue cheese, softened
  • 6 ounces cream cheese (about 3/4 cup), softened plain yogurt, strained through a coffee filter
Preparation:
  1. Finely chop walnuts. In a small heavy skillet cook walnuts in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until golden and transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
  2. Have ready a bowl of ice and cold water. In a kettle of boiling salted water blanch beans 1 minute and immediately transfer with slotted spoon to ice water to stop cooking. Drain beans and gently peel away outer skins.
  3. Return kettle of water to a boil and cut potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Cook potatoes 8 minutes, or until just tender, and transfer with slotted spoon to ice water to stop cooking. Drain potatoes in a colander and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. In a small bowl stir together Gorgonzola and cream cheese until combined well. (Canapé ingredients may be prepared up to this point 2 days ahead. Keep toasted walnuts in an airtight container at room temperature. Chill beans and potatoes separately in sealable plastic bags and chill Gorgonzola cream covered with plastic wrap.)
  5. Assembly: Spread about 1 teaspoon Gorgonzola cream on each potato slice and top each canapé with a bean, pressing down gently. Sprinkle canapés with walnuts. Canapés may be assembled 6 hours ahead and chilled, covered.
The Verdict:
These were fine.  They weren’t spectacular, and they took quite a bit of work for the outcome.  On the other hand, I didn’t have to go grocery shopping, and I used produce from the CSA.  Even though I have an unholy love of all things crostini, it’s a little weird when they’re done with potatoes instead of bread.  I know starches are meant to be interchangeable, but I found it a little strange.  So in the end, I likely won’t make quite this item again.  I may decide that the flavor was good enough to create a fava bean, blue cheese potato salad, but we’ll have to see whether I even decide that’s worthwhile.

Another Visit to Flour Tortillas

Just FYI: there’s likely to be a lot more about flatbreads here. I’m thinking about perfecting the process of making every flatbread from every culture. As long as I can use my Cuisinart or KitchenAid, of course. I’m feeling really good about pizza crust and pita breads, and I’m on the verge of getting tortillas just how I want them. Next up will likely be naan, just because I love it. My father mentioned lavash, and Ethiopian flatbread (whatever that’s called), and apparently there’s a sweet version from Norway… Anyway, this is a warning that many of my recipes and posts will likely involve flatbreads. Because I love them.

Which is why I re-tried that flour tortilla recipe from The Weekend Gourmande.  I (of course) converted it to the Cuisinart and tried cooking it with the newfound knowledge I gained from Pioneer Woman.  This time, the tortillas came out just the right color.  They had a lacing of golden brown on one side and spots of dark brown on the other.  These are a bit thicker than the lard-version, and I don’t know how well they’ll hold up as burritos because of that factor.  However, they cooked up beautifully and I’m considering how they would work with an extra step of rolling them out just before cooking.  Yes, that would mean that I’m resting the tortillas 3 different times, in 3 different shapes in the recipe.  But the alternative is driving to BONNEY LAKE for one ingredient.  I’m only really lazy when it involves going out in public.  And mixing things by hand.  And housework.  Other than that, I have dogged determination that will see me through this flatbread experiment.  I’m quite looking forward to it.

Pita Bread

Admit it – there’s no such thing as too many posts on flat bread recipes, right? That’s what I thought.

I found this one at greekfood.about.com, and I like how it turns out. It took some experimentation to find the pita recipe we were really interested in eating.  We love pita bread as a flat bread, not as a pocket bread so much (although sometimes these will inflate and create pockets as well).  Our breads are a little thicker than the pocket breads usually are (1/4″ – 3/8″ or so) and are perfect to use for dipping in hummus or heating up with feta on top.
Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 21 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 4 cups of bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Dissolve in the yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water and set aside, covered, for 15 minutes. Dissolve salt in the remaining 1 cup of warm water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add flour and make a well in the center. Put flour in the blow of an 11-cup food processor.  Pulse briefly to settle the flour.  Continue pulsing while adding Add yeast mixure and salt water in a steady stream.  Continue pulsing until dough forms, then turn food processor on for 30 seconds or so. Knead with hands for 10 minutes in the bowl. Add olive oil and continue to knead process until all oil is absorbed. Shape into a ball in the bowl, place in 8-cup measuring cup, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place in a warm area to rise until doubled in volume, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Punch down the dough and knead for 5 minutes more briefly.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C), and lightly oil baking sheets tear commercial-sized parchment paper in 1/2.
  4. Take pieces of dough slightly larger than an egg and roll out on a floured surface to a thickness of 3/8 to 1/4 inch. (For larger or smaller pita bread pieces, take more or less dough). Prick the bread with a fork in several places and brush lightly with olive oil.
  5. Place on baking sheets parchment paper and bake at 350°F (175°C) on the lowest oven rack for 2-3 minutes, then turn the pitas over and bake for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and place on another sheet of parchment paper tray covered with a clean dishtowel, with another clean towel on top. When thoroughly cooled, pitas can be stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or frozen.
  6. Before using, brown in a lightly oiled frying pan for a few minutes until browned on both sides or re-heat briefly in the oven.

The Verdict:

We love these pitas.  I made a whole mess of them (I think it was three recipes or more) recently to take on family vacation with us.  They’re absultely wonderful.  They’re good used to make pita sandwiches, used as thick wraps, or cut into wedges to eat with dip.  You may have noticed that the technique I use for these pitas is pretty much the same as the technique I use for pizza crust.  That’s just because I’m really lazy.  And I don’t enjoy mixing any kind of dough by hand.  If it can’t be made in a Cuisinart or KitchenAid, I’m not likely to cook it.  Luckily, most recipes can be adapted to one contraption or another.